Anecdotal Evidence Into the Benefits of Montessori Education

In her book Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, Lillard writes “modern research in psychology suggests that the Montessori system is much more suited to how children learn and develop than the traditional system is.” She goes on to explain that although the current public school system is better in terms of management of thousands of students, the assumption that children are empty vessels waiting to be filled with the exact same information by using the exact same methods is flawed and can lead to children being academically left behind. This mixed with a reward and punishment system of teaching is not necessarily the most effective way of educating our youth. One of the core principles of the Montessori philosophy is that children are naturally motivated to be rewarded by their own successes and achievements and will use failure as a platform for improvement instead of as a punishment.

There appeared to be a significantly greater difference in academic and social achievements for students attending Montessori schools in lower socioeconomic area over those attending public schools. Lillard found that the achievement gap lessened as you went up the socioeconomic ladder between the traditional schools and Montessori schools. There was also a correlation found between improved academic achievements and using Montessori methodology for those with physical, attention and mental disorders. These findings are significant in that there is an alternative for low-economic level families and challenged children to receive a quality education that works better for them than what traditional schools can provide.

Interestingly enough, during her research for her book as well as her research with University of Virginia; Lillard was unable to find any major flaws in the Montessori Method of education. That said she realizes there is much work still to be done and that not all Montessori schools are created equal. There are three main schools of thought in the Montessori Method. As stated above there are the purists and those who contextualize the main philosophy to adapt to specific communities. There is also a school that focuses heavily on nature, ecology and the sciences.

A major downfall for the Montessori Method is that there are many Montessori schools who are not accredited. Although there are more than 5,000 Montessori schools in the United States, there has been a delay in creating an all encompassing Montessori Method accreditation system that all schools turn to. At the moment there are a few agencies that do provide accreditation, but centralizing this may be a better option to help bring the Montessori school system to the next level.

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